Thursday, January 31, 2013

An Anniversary...

One year ago today I had surgery to rid my body of the Big C. Happy one year anniversary (cancer-free) to me! :)

Then:  (oh boy, looking a bit on the tired side here)

Now:  (note the body that my hair now has; I'll get a better photo's awfully curly...)

An anniversary is a time to celebrate the joys of today, the memories of yesterday, and the hopes of tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Going on one year...

A year ago today I wrote this post.  That means tomorrow will officially mark my one year anniversary of being Cancer Free....what's better than that?  A lot has happened this past year, so much of it a blur, but some things, ironically enough, are clearer now than they ever have been, and for that, I am so very grateful.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Once Upon a Time...

“Once upon a time – for that is how all stories should begin –...” 

Friday, January 25, 2013

More FAQ's...

Is the cancer gone?

Well, actually, the cancer was gone when I had my surgery last January.  I'm one year cancer free on January 31st.    If you've been following my blog for a while, you may remember my Zipadeedoodah post way back when, when I found out my body scans were clear from any cancer in the rest of my body.  That, my friends, was a good day!

Why then did you have to have chemo?

The chemo really was an insurance measure.  In my case, there was not question about whether all the cancer was gone, but would it show up somewhere else?  Because I had it in one lymph node, those microscopic Big C cells may have been lurking somewhere else.    Having chemo (and radiation) cut my numbers in half.

What do you do now? How are you monitored?

I will continue to have a mammogram and MRI one time per year on my remaining breast.  Each test will be 6 months apart.  For right now, I am also seeing a doctor every 3 months for monitoring.  It is not recommended that I have full body scans, as there has been no evidence that this could help with the treatment of cancer reoccurrence.  The radiation could actually cause more harm than good.

I will end this by saying that my calculated estimate (when all the stats are put into the computer) for NEVER getting the Big C again is 85%.   This is how I have to look at the number, because really, they're only numbers and thinking about them won't make one bit of difference.

I accept reality and dare not question it. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Normal

So yesterday I had a follow-up appointment with my caring, compassionate, competent, intelligent, adorable surgeon.  Of course the appointment wouldn't really officially begin until the nurse's assistant took my blood pressure, told me it was high and asked if I was feeling ok.  UGH, the white coat syndrome...I (pretty consistently) have elevated blood pressure in the doctor's office.   I told her it was her fault and then she left me alone (after she checked it one more time).  

And then I got changed and waited for the doctor....only the next person to come in wasn't the doctor, it was a medical student or intern, who, unfortunately, still has soooo much to learn.  I saw her before and was less than impressed then as well.  Not only does she struggle to understand what I say to her, she certainly lacks all that my surgeon encompasses.  Luckily for me, he came in shortly after and all was well in the world again.  

Basically this appointment was supposed to be a follow up to an MRI appointment I should have had in December.  I now have the reinforcement I needed to know that I have to be in charge otherwise the ball will be dropped.  The MRI is a "routine" test that I will have every year, and then, 6 months after that, I will have a mammogram.   

I have to admit, going to the doctor's yesterday was not fun.  It sort of knocked me down a few pegs.  I have been doing well, trying to get my groove back and carry on as a Big C survivor rather than a Big C patient.  Yesterday's visit felt much like someone getting in my face reminding me of what the past year has entailed.  "Oh, hey you, you found a lump, and had breast cancer, remember?"  Although I'm not in denial about the events of the past year, I do enjoy pushing them to the back of my mind (even though they rarely get there).  Yesterday's appointment highlighted them like a neon sign.  But, it's all part of the process in finding my new normal.

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal. 
Albert Camus 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To tell the truth...

For my entire childhood I was taught to always tell the truth.  My parents, especially my mother, were quite clear in their dislike for say it is one of their pet peeves, is an understatement.  Now, as an adult, I too have this same pet peeve.  Unfortunately I have one child who is quite the skillful liar and this can be cause for some serious head butting around here, but that's an entirely different post....

Anyway, I have the tendency to be blatantly honest...I seem to have trouble understanding that keeping my mouth shut does not equal a lie and sometimes I talk too much.  For example, the other day someone told me they liked my haircut and I found the need to  go into an explanation as to why it wasn't actually a haircut....sometimes my nerves get the best of me as well and this can also cause me to have a bit of diarrhea of the mouth, but hey these are MY issues and I continue to work on them...

So, all that babble to get to this point.  Did anyone else watch Oprah's interview with Lance Armstrong?  The entire thing just made me so very sad.  Here is a man who was once on top of the World, looked up to by millions, a humanitarian to many and BAM, it's gone...because of a lie, a great, big, fat LIE!  I found it sad because he seemed to get himself into a heap of muck so deep that really he did not even seem to be aware of any other exit, and so, he lied, and lied, and lied some more.  Heck, I don't even think it was all a conscious thing either.  Lance lost all sight of reality, was narcissistic and acted as though he was invincible.  This has proven, beyond a doubt, to be false.  

Lance Armstrong will now spend the rest of his life paying the price for his fall off the path; what he had once accomplished has been virtually erased.    However, he has been humbled and he can also be more at peace with himself because he has now "chosen" to tell the truth.   It was forced upon him, and can probably be compared to an intervention helping him to "snap out of it" and do the right thing.  The road for him at this point must appear bleak and murky, but I do hope he can pick himself up, brush off, mend the wounds, and move on.  I believe he will, after all he is a Big C survivor!

  Although I am certain most will have difficulty forgetting the story of Lance Armstrong, I hope it ends with a rise from his fall and that the positive contributions he has made outweigh the time where he "lost his way".   

Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever. 
Lance Armstrong

Monday, January 21, 2013

Dr. King...

(sorry I didn't turn my phone the correct way, thus the wonky video)

(That's E in the background exercising his right to Freedom ;)

When I started looking for a quote by Martin Luther King Jr., I realized that over the past year I have shared many of his words at the end of several posts.  He truly was and continues to be, through his words, an inspiring human being. 

Here are a few of my favorites.

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.  

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." 
Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Have you seen this?

It will be well worth the 4:42 minutes it takes to watch it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's Wednesday...

I started this post with "How is it Tuesday already?" and then realized it is actually Wednesday...OY...I lost a day in there somewhere.

We are in the midst of planning some birthday parties around here.  E's is in February and this year's theme is Minecraft.  Have you heard of it?  E is fan and has enjoyed playing it on our PC.  Now that he got a Kindle Fire for Christmas, he has been playing it on that.  Common Sense Media describes it like this:

"Minecraft - Pocket Edition sets players in the middle of a randomly generated world that has no structures, other people or objectives. Players must build a shelter and other buildings using resources they harvest from the world. The game encourages creativity -- and can be played in a monster-free mode, to encourage that free thinking (rather than having to worry about being attacked). A secondary mode gives you unlimited resources, letting you create anything you can dream up and fly around the countryside viewing your land. "

Here is the invite that I made in Picasa.
Because I was having his invites printed and didn't want to waste a side, I included a black and white photo of him.  Now, after the party, all the invited guests will have a 5 x7 picture of my little man.  I had the invites printed at Overnight Prints.  They are inexpensive, but high quality.  I definitely recommend them. 

Happy Hump Day Everyone!

Lost time is never found again. 
Benjamin Franklin 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Instagrams...

It's Friday, and time again for my Instagrams from the week.

1. Artwork by Little Miss 2. This year's mini scrapbook 3. Little Miss is still wearing her monkey mask.
4. I don't like putting the ornaments away 5. Getting ready for Valentine's Day 6. Sledding fun
7. The boy and I 8. E and is cousin dog, Yuki 9. Little Miss' wooden version of herself.
10. A new banner 11. A gift 12. Little Miss and I

I'm Linking up with Jeannett at Life Rearranged.

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Thursday, January 10, 2013


It's been a couple weeks since we had snow and sadly, there isn't enough left to go sledding in the backyard.  Little Miss and E have really been having  a blast in the snow this year and are excited for more.

E has been working hard to master his snowboard.  

Little Miss is very content sledding down the hill.  FYI:  She is not as close to the tree as it appears in this worries.

The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found? 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


So, my hair is looking more like a short haircut and not newly grown-in peach fuzz.  I've noticed that as I regain my "new normal" appearance, strangers that may have at one time given the kerchief wearing girl a look of empathy, now barely remember their manners.  There was a "kerchief effect".  Why is it that someone's outward appearance must influence how kind we are to one another?   Yes, my situation was quite apparent to the outside world, but others may be experiencing situations that are not as evident...they are incognito.  They may be walking through their life with their own crosses to bear and their own muck to trudge through.  They could be experiencing the loss of a loved one, a health condition, depression, or maybe just a headache or a bad day at work.  This information should not be a necessary component for treating people in a kind manner.  So, can we all just try to be a little more EVERYONE...not just the "kerchief wearing girls of the world?" 

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. 


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Part of the mania...

Back in November, I spoke of my Manic tendencies.  Although I'm not proud of my occasional mania, I do get some things accomplished when it makes its appearances.

In the recent past, I have not been a fan of the light that sits over our kitchen table.  So, on a trip (in November) to Ikea we bought this beauty for $14.99.  Yes, I know, it's not really all that interesting or beautiful.  However, they had one with fabric that was displayed at the store and it was interesting and I WAS a fan.

So, after going through my fabric stash, this...

Became this...

 I cut the fabric into various sized strips.  I tied some and others I just wrapped around the shade.  After I look at it for a couple weeks and decide whether or not I like how it all looks, I'll probably glue it in a few spots to keep it looking all put together.

Sometimes I get a little manic and you can't stop me. I'm all over the place. I have fun. 
Dom DeLuise 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Insta Friday (on Saturday)

A day late...better late than never.

Instagram photos from our holiday.

Happy Weekend!

The time for action is now. It's never too late to do something. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

That's a wrap...

It seems like I just finished lugging all the Christmas decorations upstairs from the basement and now it's time to put them all away.  

 Here are a few glimpses into our holiday this year. 

Victor's parents house...'

My parents' house...

Our house...

 One of my talented aunts made this beautiful card.  I plan on framing it and using it as part of my decorations each year. 

Some of my treasured decorations...

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday filled with blessings too plentiful to count.  

Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I was here...

Have you seen this?  

Needless to say the events of the past year have caused me to be reflective.  Everything that happens, once seemingly insignificant, I now digest and seek to find a deeper meaner.  Listening to this song the other night on T.V. was one of those moments.  Sometimes it may seem that we as individuals have little to no impact on the world as a whole, but really, it has to start somewhere.  This song seemed to go along with the 26 acts of kindness post from last week.  So, I thought I'd check in and let you know what we've been doing.

The kids and I took a trip to Target on the Friday before Christmas to pick up some things to make bags for homeless people.  This is some of what we put in the bags...toothbrush, toothpaste, tissues, cough drops, snacks, deodorant, first aid kit, gloves, drinks, brush, chocolates, chapstick, soap, gift card to stop and shop...

I attached a kindness quote to each of the 6 bags. 
 On Christmas Eve morning we drove around to where we usually see homeless people and we passed out the bags.  The kids passed them out from the back seat and wished everyone a Merry Christmas. I knew this "act" made an impact when E started to become very quiet from the back seat and then he said, "Mom, can we do this every year?  I like helping people."  

Yesterday we completed act #7 by leaving our waitress at Bertucci's a big tip and today I completed act #8 by making a donation here.  

Remember in high school when you went to the bathroom and it seemed the entire school had written on the walls stating that they were there?  "Justine was here, 11/9/86, Jay was here, 9/4/87"...

I never was one to write on the bathroom walls, but it does seem important to make a difference and do something significant with my life and make it known that "I was here."  By the way, I plan on having 60 more years to leave my mark ;)

I was hereI lived, I lovedI was hereI did, I've done, everything that I wantedAnd it was more than I thought it would beI will leave my mark so everyone will know-Beyonce

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


So I've decided to follow the trend of many other bloggers and choose a word for 2013, a word to reflect on as the next chapter of my life book is written.  The word is Patience....patience with others (especially my children), patience with myself and patience with life and what it brings.  This past year has forced me to slow down and be more patient, especially with my health, but I still have work to do.  

photo by Blue Lily

I liked so many quotes I found today, and I couldn't choose just one, so here are three.

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity. 

I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. 

The keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen.